As all three regular readers will know, I run a regular Q&A for crime writers here on CAP, and the first question is: ‘What crime novel would you most like to have written?’ The answers are as varied as you might expect, but the name that appears time and again is Raymond Chandler.
We all have our own favourites, of course, and Chandler is mine, and while THE LONG GOOD-BYE isn’t the best of his novels, it’s the one I like most, perhaps for its quasi-autobiographical hinterland. Anyhoos, the good news – for me – was that a box of books arrived from Hamish Hamilton this week, containing re-issues of THE BIG SLEEP, FAREWELL, MY LOVELY, THE LITTLE SISTER, THE LADY IN THE LAKE and THE LONG GOOD-BYE. No ordinary re-issues, either – hardbacks, sans dust-jackets, of the original first edition Chandlers (although I’m reliably informed by the ever-helpful Jayde Lynch at Penguin that the FAREWELL, MY LOVELY isn’t actually a first edition cover). It’s a beautiful collection, sumptuously presented, and it fair made my week – and they didn’t even know it’ll be my birthday on Monday. Nice.
Anyway, the quintet is released on March 26th, and you should be able to find all the details here at Hamish Hamilton. If there’s a Chandler fan in your vicinity, you know what to do … Better still, if you know of any unfortunate who has yet to read him, now is the time to do the right thing.
Over to you folks – your favourite Chandler novel, and why …
“Burke shows again that he’s not just a comic genius, but also a fine dramatic writer and storyteller.” – Booklist. “Prose both scabrous and poetic.” – Publishers Weekly. “Proust meets Chandler over a pint of Guinness.” – Spectator. “Among the most memorable books of the year, of any genre.” – Sunday Times. “A hardboiled delight.” – Guardian. “Imagine Donald Westlake and Richard Stark collaborating on a screwball noir.” – Kirkus Reviews. “A cross between Raymond Chandler and Flann O’Brien.” – John Banville.